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My future job looks a lot cooler now

So some of you found it funny or surprising how I discovered I loved PCB design with Expedition PCB. And I guess that’s cool, because laughing is. Doesn’t mean I didn’t mean it though – quite the contrary in fact. And here’s the thing : you’re in for more !

I don't always

This week, we designed our add-on PCB to turn Spheros in RoseRolls with minimum soldering. We hope it’ll work out great ! Whatever happens though, I will have learned a lot and enjoyed it very much. Because designing that PCB was just as fun as designing our lab’s pretend PCB was – if not more, because it was for real. So I easily spent countless hours on this, as I had for my lab PCB.

We had a first go at placing all the parts and components, but it wasn’t enough, and routing proved horrible and endless. So we gave it a second go – we kept the original layout in its main lines (constraints on where to put the processor, the buzzer, the leds, the IRDA transceivers and photoreceivers) but we improved the details a lot by putting components by tight logical groups, orienting them in the most efficient manner. Then we improved the pin assignment on the STM32 and the routing proved way easier and cleaner – that’s something I’ll remember and train on. I think we’ve got something strong now – anyway, it’s gone to production, and since Friday we’ve been going over software development general organization, both in terms of people and of the Github repository – its structure and the use of Git branches. Hopefully this’ll work out too, and we’ll manage to keep it real and productive, and not just “pipo” management stuff. We’ve tested out branches on the old ELEC223 test repository, found a merge tool, prepared our repository structure, and defined the way we’d add new modules while minimizing merge conflicts …

But yeah, that PCB design experience, now sadly over, was amazing to me. Is it because MentorGraphics tools are so amazing, along with all those nifty components that are so powerful, and the crazy technologies that go into actually printing the PCB ? Or is it because I actually really like it ? Anyway, I find myself fascinated by the concept and by the fact that I am able to work with that concept (at least the components, software, design part, not the factory part) ! I can still improve, of course – and I mean to, I hope in the future my work will incorporate that stuff – and that’s why I think my future job as an engineer looks a lot cooler and more attractive now. I feel I am where I’m supposed to be, where I belong. Now let’s try and be my best at it – and improve that best. I suppose the last two sentences are classic lines from not-at-all-original movies, but hey … it seems that stuff does happen sometimes.

Now, bad news : my Windows VM died in mysterious circumstances (the virtual hard drive disappeared …). But since Jesus resurrected today, it’s alright, I’ll fix that later. Happy Easter, a tad late.

Charles THIN

ROSE 2013

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